A 1970s-era method of assessing farmland in Illinois is in need of an update, according to a top budget-making lawmaker. State Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) wants to accelerate the rate at which the assessed value for lower-quality soil grows. The result, he says, is that Southern Illinois farmland owners would be paying more in property taxes sooner.
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"The risk of doing nothing is that the Department of Revenue and the court system will hold that our farmland assessment doesn’t work, and the farm cropland will go to market value,” said Mautino, the sponsor of a bill. He says the market value of an acre farmland in his Northern Illinois district is probably three or four times that in the south. At a hearing for lawmakers on the Illinois House Revenue and Finance Committee, representatives of the Illinois Department of Revenue and the Illinois Farm Bureau said the assessment model moved away from market values in the 1970s. H.B. 2651 is being held in the Rules Committee.